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  CSPAN    Today in Washington    News/Business. News.  

    October 12, 2012
    6:00 - 9:00am EDT  

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>> i just want to remind people that your organization is citizens for responsibility and ethics in washington, or crew. how do you parse out the equation of money in speech just
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for starters? >> first i want to say what brad said is often not true. it is not new voices. it's all voices and very few voices. very few voices on rich people. when you have a group like the american national -- or crossers they're funded by remarkably few people. i think that's the key. we are talking people give $500,000. this isn't your man on the street. this is a couple of people, maybe 100 people are participating in these elections. think about whether you think our elections ought to be bought and paid for just by billionaires and multimillionaires. that's who is influencing our elections. it's not your joe citizen. those aren't the voices your hearing. >> one thing on that topic. academic study, and i would want to see more wide range analysis. i cover super pacs in a primary issue. and, in fact, it was the
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candidate with the biggest super pac to one republican primary. eventually it was mitt romney who had the biggest super pac. is dollars or republican donors for the most part, the guy with the second biggest super pac, blasted the second of august. i was a wooden expected ever to be an open presidential primary ever won by candidate who doesn't have a super pac, as long as they remain a part of american politics. >> let me go back to melanie because i think she hadn't quite finished. it sounds like we've had the nerve. it didn't take long. so you go ahead and then we will go back to brad. >> i want to go back to something nick started with because the super pacs aren't the real danger to the super pacs are, i like to think of them as the kim kardashian of the campaign finance will because they're getting so much of the press. the ones you have to worry about are the 501(c)(4)
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organizations. 501(c)(4) organizations which are none of social welfare organizations, people can donate anonymously. those organizations are where the real money is, where the real power is an awful lot of the after coming out of. a group like the american action network which is run by norm coleman and american crossroads, a super pac run by karl rove, and they have much more money than the super pacs. we have no idea who the donors are and where not even going to see those groups file tax returns for another year and a half. through the election will be long over before you ever have any idea how much money they had and even then we will never know who actually put in all that money. just because we don't know doesn't mean that people have benefited from all those donations won't. politicians, most of them, corporations will give money like that, they are expecting a return on investment. just because we don't know doesn't mean they're not
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expecting gratitude. they will make darn sure people who benefit from the contributions know exactly who they gave to. we have no idea what those people in turn if they went will be doing for that money and we will never be able to tie those things together like we can now when we look at campaign contributions that are made to candidates. we compare those contributions to vote. that will happen with the donations to the 501(c)(4)'s. >> i want to remind everyone who is here in the room with us that you have an opportunity write down questions. you can feel free to do that now, do it on a piece of paper, your program, whatever. will come around and about 20 minutes to collect those. brad spent i want to start with a technical point to bring the audience up to speed on things. for example, we often refer to super pacs as romney super pac or obama's super pac. in fact, by definition super pacs have to operate independently of the campaign. one thing that has come about
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that a don't think anybody anticipated at the time was the single candidate super pac. we should note that the romney campaign or the obama campaign or the santorum our gingrich campaigns do not play a role in setting the super pacs a. of course, as nick points out -- >> yes, they do because it's always their top people who started the super pac. >> but they don't play any role, romney can talk -- people leave. of course, they do. you don't expect a bunch of romney people to leave and start a gingrich super pac. the point is that i've been out of contact with the campaign. if we take it from there, let's go on and look more at a couple of key points. the first, the real money is not in (c)(4)'s. there figures to october 6 show that super pacs spend about twice as much as c-4 groups. that's not really what the big money is. >> is not just the stuff that is
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reported to the federal election commission. will have to go to that in a minute. (c)(4) groups or fashion of spending yourself in this campaign. they will not spend as much in total as the obama campaign alone will. that's, all (c)(4) groups for all races in this cycle. and that's just the reality of the. the obama campaign will spend more. let's talk about who's -- these are ordinary citizens and, of course, they're not ordinary citizens but let's think about this a bit. when foster friess funded a super pac back for rick santorum, today keep ordinary citizens being heard or did that make millions of voters citizens who liked rick santorum, did it help them? rick santorum was getting creamed before foster friess came along. when newt gingrich came out, and support by sheldon abelson, did not drown voices out there that help people hear about newt gingrich? today keep them in the race
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longer? did more people get to hear his views? we can go back -- >> there were no newt gingrich supporters and there were no rick santorum supporters. that's the point. [talking over each other] >> if those people have actual americans borders and it would've been able to stay in race longer because they would have lots of donors which they did not have. speak at this point we're not talking sosa because we know that many, many speech i don't agree with you. >> if he said that any supporters, you're not talking seriously because there are hundreds of thousands of supporters in newt gingrich and rick santorum who voted for them in the primaries. they had many, many supporters. perhaps you believe everybody is just an ignorant dupe fooled by a few ads, but i'm not so pessimistic about the american voter. we go back further, look at steve kemp -- jack kemp -- not jack kemp. steve forbes. and 96. bd drown out voters?
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no. emits been his own money which is all you can do at that time on his own campaign, made it more possible that bob dole might lose a other gop candidates in that race got heard from everybody. we go way back to the last election before the passage of the federal election campaign act 1968. did not drown people out or did that make people hurt? i think what you find it makes people heard. >> clearly no list is agreement on the panel, i do want to go back to you, kim, because you been looking at tracking the money. in addition to these questions of how much influence individuals have, there's also questions of what the state of play is. one of the things i was interested in, this came something you wrote about, nick, george soros said, he swore the the bible or virtual bible that he wouldn't donate to super pac,
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and he decided to. so what do you think is changing, can come in the game right now terms of this election and setting precedent for super elections about elections get funded speakers the democrats have pretty much said, originally we are against outside money, we're against the super pacs, but if we're not going to play in the sandbox reminds will just take our toys and go home, right? they pretty much feel like if they don't do this then they're going to be an incredibly disadvantaged. and they are probably correct. what i've been interesting and noting so far is you don't have folks, you don't have at least these nonprofits on the democrat side spending as much as you on the conservative side. i would turn to brad's point about the fact that it's a small percentage of money that we don't know whether donors are coming from. in some races you're seeing more than half the money that is coming in being traced back to groups that we don't who their donors are. that i think matters a lot.
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yo point is correct that obama will most likely spend more than all of these groups. if you look at the democratic side, everybody has said, this is pretty much because of incumbency, maybe people should turn off their cell phones. so on the democrats side you're going to see the obama campaign on the presidential side spending more than 50%. daniel levy outside groups making up much less than 50%. i would guess on the conservative side you're going to of romney coming in a little less than 50% and you're going to the outside spending groups making up more than half, which is going to get some folks really outside, outside influence compared to the past. maybe we're fine with it and maybe that's okay, i did something that i think is interesting to talk about. i also think it's interesting that you got a lot of money coming in to certain races that you don't know where it's coming from. >> you may or may not be able to answer this, but if you can one of the things i was interested
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in was the supreme court is deciding to take another look at a from and of action just nine years after its previous decision. do you think that citizens united will come up for review again before the supreme court anytime soon? more perhaps more the point, the people are looking at campaign finance from, as funders or as organizers expect the law to change again by the next cycle or the one after that? >> i don't think so. i think the supreme court has made very clear where it stands on citizens united, on money and politics but i think if anything the trend will probably accelerate in a few different ways, and they've been very -- i think he recently turned down a challenge, right, brad, on some aspect of citizens and re-emphasize no, we actually believe this. of course, we're entering an era where supreme court's don't really respect a president in the same way they used to so
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that if there are new justices added, if obama wins reelection and there are more democratic appointed judges commits very easy to imagine a fight for decision reversing or changing in some way. under the current course i think made very plain that your this is how, this their belief, this is the constitutional principle but they will keep applying it. i'm not aware but i'll see any evidence of a series reconsideration of the principal in citizens or think in speech now spent the supreme court rejected a chance to revisit citizens united last term in the case that came up from the montana supreme court that had given the court an opportunity to review the issue and they declined to take tertiary your. >> just to go back to almost the beginning premise that are launched with, of middle school students, it doesn't take a middle school student not to understand the state of play.
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stand, and i'll go back down to like them. to what extent do you think it's important that citizens understand the state of political funding? d. you think of citizens, you basically just said there's no revisiting by the supreme court anytime soon. people are watching political ads and money is impacting people's votes, but is there a mechanism by which individual citizens can influence the funding environment other than giving money? >> no. >> no just giving money, that's it? >> money is one kind of speech, but i was asked a similar question recently, and i said look, barack obama has shown that there is a second model for politicians. you can build a base of small donors, as brad points out it can be very robust. even in the world of unlimited
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spending. >> any other thoughts on how much impact of citizens have over the state of play? >> one thing, we are in lock up your the five us because we're in a more influential group of citizens. we've influenced even without having to give money. that's one of the things i often point out his money is just one of many forms of influence that affects me. one click and do. when i was at the fec i used to meet a lot, doesn't like to do is ask the groups that coming to washington, and have these big, you can talk to the department of agriculture, a couple hundred kids. i removed one year in the evenings are creating a debate topic and they would have debates. and it's on campaign finance. i look to the resolution that was being introduced to regulate campaign finance, and the students thought that the regulation, the proposal would create more regulation than the current system had. but actually a creative less regulation than the current system had.
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they would be deregulating if the proposal was accepted. this shows in a sense how poor public knowledge is of our laws in this area and what is sort of going on. it makes it hard to have a clear discussion. for example, large percentages of americans just think corporations can give directly to candidate campaigns and federal elections, they can't. that's just one of many kinds of things that make it hard to discuss the issue, lack of knowledge. >> what about the question of impact? not everyone has money to give and not everyone and has money things that money should be their prime mover in terms of political speech, other than voting. so how influential our citizens? i mean, citizens not leveraging their wealth, in the discussion over how wealth is used in politics. >> citizens have the ability to be more influential, just generally sadly they choose not to be. we have a very poor track record
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on voting in this country, very few citizens come out to vote. able to go to the town halls and demand real answers and politicians and not the pounded off. they could do far more. they could do going door to door for the candidates they like. they could run against all candidates that they don't like, so me people are so dissatisfied or very good reasons with our elected representatives. they could run to push forward other people they like. it's not that people couldn't do more, it's that generally they choose not to. because their busy and have other priorities, not so hard to understand. i also think there is increasing cynicism about politicians who all need to be out for themselves and certainly if not out for themselves, just line their own pockets. they're certainly out for their last campaign dollar and they'll certainly so almost anything for a campaign donation. i think it does increase the citizens of our society. i think that is, in fact, a large part of the reason we need greater regulation of campaign finance. if you were up to me would have
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public financing of elections because in that way we could be sure that our politicians were not trading all of their legislative favors to boats and committees to make sure that a campaign contribution. they were doing it because they believe that is the right thing. they would also be spending far more about other time worrying about are very significant national problem rather than spinning majority of the time fund raising which is what they do now. >> what do we know about donors in terms of outside money? presumably there's a lot of people who are making big contributions, but do we know anything about the geographic dissertation or any -- >> texas. >> so there is a heavy weighting? >> look, it's whether billionaires are, right? their living in texas, coming out taxes. you've got a lot of money coming from new york, kim, particularly folks who used to be with him capital, or still are with bain
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capital. folks from wall street have particular -- contributed heavily to romney. but you've got your billionaires out of texas. bob kerrey it doesn't really talk to anybody, is given a lot of money. harold simmons has given a lot of money. you've got out of wyoming foster friess has given a lot of money. and then, of course, there's the elephant in the room which we would be sheldon adelson out of nevada was given him and his wife and discovers that would've given somewhere somewhere north of $70 million to various super pacs supporting romney an earlier supporting gingrich. so that's a lot of money, you know, and that's a huge gamble to make. you have to wonder at the end of this whether folks feel like they deserve something for all that money. i don't know. that's just the money we know
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about. >> sheldon abelson telling the press all he wanted was a lock at a white house chanukah party spent that doesn't sound very bad. >> shade -- sheldon adelson is the subject of an investigation or serious wrongdoing in china. is also been very vocal about decisions he takes for israel and he wants is a candidate takes a guy goes position to give expect he will want some return on investment. >> one thing that i think is interesting that you are not seeing in the super pac donation, super pacs have to say who their donors or pick your not really seeing the level of corporations coming in and giving money, that everybody thought we're going to be giving money. there's a lot of speculation and i think nick was involved in a great story the times did about the fact that they're going through the (c)(4) addressing groups like aetna accidentally leaked the fact a given money to
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the chamber of commerce, which is a trade association of 501(c) 600 american action network which melanie was mentioning earlier. so you're not seeing the money come in that is reported. is most likely at least going to experts coming in to the anonymous. >> nay, i want to bring up something you wrote about in one of your articles that said that the democratic super pac money is coming from kyle boller communions and hollywood. i thought that was such a nice little summary. maybe you could expand speech i'll answer the question very simply. rich, white, man, texas, florida, las vegas. >> wow. >> that's where the money is coming from. i've spent way too much time looking at reports. actually one thing about the ad to the super pacs, and contest else about the tax-exempt groups, and there is some
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evidence that's the main conduit for corporate money and not super pacs. but super pacs have made a country whose electorate is more and more diverse, had more of the money in politics that we know about come from a smaller number of very wealthy mostly male, almost entirely white people and few states of course those are the traditional states for fundraising happens, the site huge surprise but yet it's basically and you said even more succinctly it's whether billionaires part it's kind of astounding when you start to break down just how few people are financing in both parties all of these outfits. and again, on the democratic side it's how liberal wall street people, movie stars, trial lawyers who make tens of minutes of dollars in the tobacco settlements, that's basically where the money comes from on the democratic side in what we call the nascent
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democratic super pac conglomerate which is sort of still getting up to speed relative to the republicans. >> just want to remind folks of or shortly will start collecting questions, if you've written down questions will start to collect those. i'm going to go back to you, brad, and when you think about the fact that our democracy is predicated on one level, on one person one vote. but on the other level money is considered speech. are those two incompatible missions of our democracy? >> i don't think they are. i think first we need to go back and just pull back a couple bits of hyperbole. for example, it's been suggested members of congress been a matured other time fundraising. that's not true. we've heard, will all these people will expect some in return but we largely know that statue. we know the vast majority of givers donate to candidates who agree with the donor.
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that's why they don't choose to them. and that basically all the expect in return is by and large good government. and we do find it. we have research and studies that have gone into that. there's also the question of corporate money which was pointed out, everybody but super pacs would be funded by corporate money. that is cloudy not the case. it's almost all individual money. albeit from very wealthy individuals. there's not a strong reason to think is mostly corporate money, especially not large corporate publicly traded corporations. what we have to ultimately is a couple of questions. there's one question, which is is a good or bad habits more open deregulate system where everybody can kind of play the game? the second question is the one kim keeps trying to drag us back to is how much of this do we need more disclosure of this because some of this activity is not disclosed? i will note that 501(c)(4) organizations have always been able to participate in politics and it never had to disclose their donors.
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i take, sort of my starting point, my perception of the government better have a darn good reason before source keeping a database in which it catalogs our political activity and keeps track of who we support into we talked about politics. on the other hand, i do think that the government can overcome the. you asked about, it's not controversial in the supreme court that money contributes to speech. if you limit the money for the purpose of limiting speech involves a first amendment. pretty much all the justices who sat on the court in the last 30 years except justice stevens had agreed with that point. the question is, is there a compelling enough interest to overcome that first amendment right. so that's the one question and in the second question is how much of that in should be disclosed. we haven't gotten to that very much. >> i think that's a great place for us to go. just a reminder that bradley smith is the cofounder of the center for competitive politics,
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and a fan of the regular so political money, and melanie sloan is executive director of citizens for responsibility and ethics in washington. melanie, i'm going to turn back to you. i want to get to the disclosure question but also want to approach the question of whether there is a fundamental mismatch between one person one vote and money is free speech. >> i wouldn't agree that money equals speech. i think that they're separate and distinct. i think that there is, a lot of questions about disclosure issues and all the people he used to be all in favor of disclosure in fact are no longer in favor of disclosure. before citizens united you have people like senator mitch mcconnell, the senate majority leader, is it really we should be able to contribute what we want but we should disclose it all. as soon as they got citizens united everybody's at the disclosure as part of the republican mantra, b. and i disclosure bill to require more disclosure has gone through
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congress twice, failed, called for disclose act so there's not going to be disclosure anytime too soon of all the money that's going into the campaign ads. when brad says that he thinks the government really needs a great reason before they can catalog, keep a database, your campaign contributions, they've been keeping a database for many, many years already. it exists. so now we have is a situation where your $2000 donation is catalog but not for $10 million donation to a 501(c)(4) pics i think is a real problem in the disclosure. we're seeing small donors disclosed but not the biggest donors and to have the most influence. and i think when we talk about some of, obviously there is one difference when citizens donate, that's one thing but when corporations donate, corporations are doing it because they wanted to. when a corporation like aetna is making your for many dollars
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contribution to the american action network, they're doing it because they have an agenda. because it's a business decision and expect to get something out of it. we only found out about at night by mistake. admin filed a paper with the national association of insurance commissioners but action. they're supposed be rethink their lobbying donations and some inadvertently reported their donations to the american action network and to the chamber of commerce. so we got this when the pic is the first time we found out what they corporation was donating to a (c)(4). you can imagine if trying to get it, aetna is unlikely to be alone. there's crossroads gps, all that meat of these groups. so you can imagine there's a lot of corporate money going in and we as americans have no idea what this corporations are expecting for those contributions. >> we wouldn't have any idea if we knew either. and i think, let's step back a bit. corporations spend about 100
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times as much money every year on charitable contributions as they do on all political spending combined, right? what do they expect from the? what did they get from that? what's their agenda? we don't worry about it. corporations effectively a lot of money because they think will make for a better society for get better long-term policy results. and i have to say a word or two about this. i'm pretty sure i know mitch mcconnell position on disclosure a lot better than melanie does. nobody in the republican party has proposed any legislation rolling back any disclosure laws at the federal level. and the question has always been what disclosure should be required, and what we have long required as disclosure or contributions that go correctly to candidates or parties, or spending that correctly advocates the election or defeat of a candidate. we have never before required a
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501(c)(4) nonprofit to disclose all of its donors, all of them, because some donors have their money use, or maybe no donor wants it used to run political ads, the group that was supportive of the mission. and, in fact, we thought many longhorn court battles to the civil rights era to make sure these groups would not have to disclose their donors to people. melanie is right that it's this kind of odd that we're requiring disclosure of low amounts given drug to candidates but not large amounts not given drafted to candidates. i'm open to adjustments. i think if we allow changes made on both ends, i do think when it understands that there's a fundamental difference. there's not been a retreat on disclosure. what is being proposed as disclosure like we have never had before in our countries history, tracking a people's political entity. >> jump in the.
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one of the things that comes to mind to me is simply as the game has changed, so has the ability to turn around disclosure and itemization quickly. >> i actually want to talk about the irs. i like talk about boring subjects that can deliver that the path i can never get out of. but the irs is the agency that is supposed to regulate social welfare nonprofits. social welfare nonprofits, 501(c)(4) groups, the main groups were talking about this evening, the whole idea of dark money, their primary purpose is supposed to be social welfare, right? is supposed be hoping security at large. at a specific group, not a political party on either side of the aisle. but you've got these groups that are not even required to get recognized by the irs before they start operating. so what you have had since citizens united are these pop-up
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groups. they come along, they call themselves something like commissioner hope, growth and opportunity. that is one name. on the other hand, you've got citizens for strengthen security action fund which is a liberal group, right? these groups will come along, although the commission of hope growth and opportunity apply to the irs, on the left side of the aisle on liberal groups often won't apply to the irs at all. they will spend through the election and then they will fold. they will fold right after the election and their tax returns are due, say a year or so after the election at the very earliest and you don't have a sense of what they were doing and tell them. the irs has allowed these groups to operate, allow them to basically say to the irs, nomad, we're not going to spend any money on politics whatsoever, and in turn around and in some cases we found even spend money the very same day on political ads, the same day dissented in an off the application to the irs saying we're not we are not
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going to do any politics whatsoever. that's a discussion with have but these are groups. not groups like the naacp that a thing of basically as operating more like a c-3, or right to left, these groups have traditionally been around a traditional markup a bit of a political voice out there and are filling more of a social welfare roll to do what you do about a group like commissioner of growth and opportunity that sets up a website comes as we're here for free enterprise and social welfare, runs a couple new stories on its website, spends all of its money or most of its money seemingly on politics and enfolds? any start a new one the next time around. literally with citizens for strengthen security action fund that was a 501(c)(4) that ran through 2010. it folded. in 2008, 11 get a new one start, called the citizens for strengthen security funds.
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as opposed to the action fund. uses the same sort of little sort of cut in place, paste clipart from the first group, it seems of issues and is running these same ads and with no idea we're giving it money. mark my words, by 2013 it will fold. and then you'll have a new one. >> nick and what's it like to try -- what's it like to try to report on, kind of like los angeles or an earthquake season. things just keep moving around. >> it's pretty fun but it's also pretty frustrating. it is always just a practical task of reporting on what we're golfing dark money -- what we are reporting called dark money. almost no idea where it comes from, with kind of minimal
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ability sometimes to engage with people in charge of the money, and only a partial knowledge of how it's being spent, which you could pick up some time by tracking advertising by mailing expenditures and those kinds of costs. at what it was or brought him to me, and them i think a lot about some of the fundamental issues in speech and regulations that abandon all races, one thing we're ghana dance around here about (c)(4)'s, we have an irs which is basically attaching agency that is enforcing groups that are increasingly political in the outlook. you have groups that operate sort of cycle around that blend what we were traditionally considered lobbying and grassroots lobbying and issue advocacy with stuff that is more obviously election oriented. and it raises a real challenge i
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think for advocates of regulation because you begin to have to decide can classify different kinds of speech, how to regulate it, what the political expenditure, how is it different from an issue at can is it different when you elect somebody? i do think it's impossible to do. but the sense of etiquette from reporting on it and the challenge of it really is to try to describe for clearly for readers what is happening, what they really are as opposed to kind of what they are called technically. i really wish we had a catchy term for a tax-exempt 501(c)(4) educational group. something like semi-super pac or something that would allow us to shorthanded, would probably help a lot in the educational aspect, for readers. >> to get people to read. >> forget readers, editors. editors don't want to see
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501(c)(4). so what i see is we're entering, where brad probably thinks this is positive, where more money is flowing outside of party institutions, outside of candidates, more of a controlled by constellation of political operatives and donors with ties to different candidates. and that is kind of where i see us going. i think it's a consultancy dream. i mean, it's like a gold mine for a political consultant. you can make so much freaking money. you don't have to answer to candidates or candidates spouses spouses. said in a control in alexandria, cat, collect checks. it's a great job and it's the future of politics. >> we've got at least one growing industry. so we have a whole bunch of questions here and also for
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people who are on twitter, you can use the hash tag investigate this, and i will be checking my feeds for any questions. there are several questions that have gotten, just get down to basics. i don't know who wants to pick this up but just explained for the record what nonprofits can do, what (c)(3)'s can do, what seaforth can do, what super pacs can do, like is there any kind of aspect maybe there's a place you can point me for an overview. 63 surgeries. at the groups we can give money to them and you can take a tax deduction. they are not supposed to be politics. they might do a little issue advocacy and there but they're not allowed to advocate for the election or defeat of a particular candidate. that doesn't mean they can't have a partner (c)(4) group which is a social welfare nonprofit that we're talking about. the rules on what the script can do in politics are this. they can lobby and they can do
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political advertising, but their primary purpose is supposed to be social welfare. vis has never defined what that means. you have a lot of these groups that see this means we can spend up to 49% of our money that would raise on political ads, but the irs hasn't said whether that's the case or not. the irs has said facts and circumstances test for pretty much everything. >> in fact some of these groups spent more than that like the american action network spends 66% of its money on political ads. >> it also depends on how you define a political ads. so it gets very confusing. as far as what a super pac is allowed to spend its money on, a super pac is under the irs five to seven code. you heard nic mentioned five to seven earlier. this means they can spend all their money on ads. that's what they do. they have to raise the money and report what they raise and who they get it from.
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and those are the main differences between the super pac and a (c)(4) group is -- >> and their 66. >> and the c-5 is a union. >> spent where a couple legal points that are significant. a super pac has to spend money and eventually from the candidate that means again they can't confer with a candidate. they can't is because the candidate has asked them to do that. it does not suggest that people are doing it won't know what the candidate is doing. it doesn't take much brains to know the candidates are doing. they publish their schedules every day. they have to report. but they can't actually talk and collaborate in that fashion. >> technically. jon stewart and stephen colbert did -- >> i think that were illegal isolate. >> when stephen colbert speak when they pretended to talk to one of their lawyers. i would say that was a violation
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of law. there are two other players that are minor but quickly with mentioned the one is a super pac opposed to a good old-fashioned plain old pack. it can take only limited contributions to your limit to how much money you can give to aipac, and the pac and and independent expenditures, or do this before, davis went directly to candidate campaigns. that's what aipac gives. the one final players will we might call a generic 527, as ken said super pac is a form of 527, aipac, a generic 527, talked about in 2004 is a group that spends money on issue ads that sound a lot like political ads by technically don't advocate the election or any can do. the reason i mention this is if groups were not defined as 501(c) fours, it's not like the witnesses shall have to go out of business, they would just
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become 527s and he does think it would report their donors to the irs. >> i think with officially lost 87.3% of the audience. >> i do also, i do think this is the conundrum we face. we are all serious about it. people to come out in manhattan on a weeknight, a school night to hear things that they don't care about. everyone who cares about it but it's so hard to explain. i think we're doing a great job but you have some limitations. this is a question i don't know whether or not we can answer but perhaps. give us your best estimate, total amount of never reported contributions that will be spent this year on house and senate campaigns by public employees union, big pharma, big insurance, big coal or oil, law firms and finance.
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>> i have no idea spent the whole idea, we don't know. spent hundreds of millions of dollars. >> we can do some back of the envelope. we know, or it has been reported that this kind of a network of donors associated with the koch brothers that are purportedly going to raise and spend about $400 million this cycle. i think in all federal races through a variety of 501(c)(4) groups we know that american crossroads and passed except for the, crossroads of gps will together spend about 300 billion. the unions, i seems the figures for this, and again he goes to the earlier question, so much of what the union to do is not advertising but mobilization. they do spend some money through super pacs. they may spend some money through (c)(4), i'm not totally sure about that, but again the reason we call it dark money is because it's dark and
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we have no freaking idea how much anyone is going to spend. >> another one. how can we straighten out the ambiguity of the (c)(4)? >> we actually could come in my view would be to allow to change the laws about (c)(4). first i think we should simply restrict (c)(4) some engaging in political spending. the point of a (c)(4) was initially did a companion to this e3 and generally engage in some kind of lobbying. life want to engage in political activities let's just require somebody to start a super pac where the spending within be this close to you can prohibit 501(c)(4) some engaging in political spending at all. >> another question that is is how to know if there's quid pro quo. the question is are the reports or studies on which media companies are receiving the most money and how those companies are politically connected? i'm guessing that it means not that media companies are
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receiving money but that they're spending money. spent a good before the ads. i'm confused by the question spent i am a little bit, too. >> does the person you want to clarify the question? [inaudible] >> we have no idea if there's any sort of quid pro quo going on there. there's obviously tv stations across the country are getting a lot of money for these ads. in fact, -- [inaudible] >> there is one example of this which just to be clear, most of the money i think close to local tv stations. and, of course, there are very big local tv stations and conglomerates, but those tv stations make a huge amount of money from political ads. it's a great business. partly because they can essentially inflate their prices, make up quotes.
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bid prices up effectively because no one knows what the real price people are paying our and they are resisting local broadcasters are resisting right now a proposal. >> this is the whole idea of what i was talking about at the very beginning of free the files and the fcc. the tv stations themselves, the broadcasters were some of the folks saying it's too burdensome to have to put this stuff online. it's too burdensome to make is easily searchable for the public. before i think was the beginning of august when these were required to be put up online, to find out what groups are spent and what candidates were spending, the actual amount of tv stations, you have to go there in person and for the record yourself. that's incredibly burdensome, and, as a citizen in this country. so you've got that and you've got the fact that these ads that are run by candidates, there's a certain amount of money that those costs. and you can't inflate those ads. by these outside groups, you can sit there and say it now costs this, now caused this, now cost
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this. i mean, in certain markets like in ohio and florida i don't think there are any ads running that are not from these outside groups. you have wal-mart basically saying we're not going to be able to spend money on holiday advertising until after the election is over in certain areas. so yeah, but whether squid pro golfer that you can't really say for certain one way or the oth other. >> let me go back to you brad, because you or someone who's ask gotten to serve in the capacity of being a commission on the fcc. -- fec. what came up for you as you get that that may have influenced her decision to start the greek to me country and -- the group you now run? >> no one is doing anything bad. that is, we would see many cases at the fec, and some of them would clearly be violations of the law. and some of them would clearly not be violations of the law.
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and some of them would be closed. but in virtually none of those cases, i shouldn't say nobody, but very, very few was anybody actually trying to do anything that i think anybody in this room would consider bad. the vast mentored of the violations that were found were basically accidental violations where there were things that really don't have much impact. they were people who accidentally contributed more than they thought, a person who wrote a check office corporate accounts and the campaign didn't recognize it as such and took in 50 other thing i noticed was the incredible burden that these laws pose a true grassroots political activity. one reason it has become so centered and washington now is because very, very hard for true grassroots groups to do anything because the first thing you've got to do, you've got to hire a lawyer and an accountant and someone he knows how to file fec reports. as a whole country of people who make their living at doing that.
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some of these laws really impinge on smalltime campaigns and true grassroots activities. at a minimum i really hope that we can push vastly upward the sort of reporting thresholds and disclosure thresholds. >> what do you think of that? are small after being penalized by burdensome regulation? >> sadly the fec never once did penalize anybody for anything about how egregious their violations of our plenty of violations. most of these people in this room would think are pretty darn egregious. basically if you're making the contribution in the name of somebody else, if you are coercing your employees to make contributions, which is something where singh routinely, those are the kind of things that are illegal. the kind of things the fec hasn't wanted to take a stand up to the fec is well known to be the most dysfunctional agency in washington. john mccain calls it the agency that can't. part of its problem at the very essence of its structure, it is six commissioners, three
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republicans, three democrats and the need for votes to do anything so quite often they just split and can't do anything. five of the six commissioners are sitting despite expired terms, and a couple of them have been very blatant about their refusal to enforce campaign finance laws. and one of them are used to be former house majority leader tom delay's campaign finance or says he believes it's his job to help republicans in positions. president obama can be blamed and held accountable for his failure to nominate anybody new to the commission. he tried once to numb it somebody and that person didn't get the senate so he didn't try again. so president obama says he really cares about regulation has done very little to try and fix the status,. >> i'm walking offstage if i don't get respond. >> you can respond by we got to keep this type out of respect for the audience. >> the mere fact that crew think something violates the law doesn't mean that it does.
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the fec is the agency, the enforcement agency for presidential appointees that determines what the regulations are and when something violates the law. anybody can file a complaint with the fec here that doesn't mean somebody violated the law. i hope we're all glad that is the case but it's kind of like a plaintiffs in the judge won't enforce the law because he ruled against the. the fec does not deadlock frequency. it deadlocks about three or 4% of the time. just virtually never comes the. we can just go on and on and on down almost every point that melanie says. frankly, you don't have a clue as to what goes on. but that's the facts. you don't know what you're talking about. >> i would prefer not to go down the road to open -- there are more questions. >> i feel like there was a very dishonest attack make simply a political attack that attempts to ms. lee the audience. you've got to understand if and not going to be a lot of time, which i can understand, then you just got to let me say she
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doesn't know what you talk about, that's it. they are, time's up spent we're going to move ahead to other questions. these two questions seem to me to be interrelated. one is from the august with the verses from the audience and the second is from twitter. the first line of questioning was, how our citizens united super pacs not blatant violation of the 14th amendment? how do regular voters have equal protection under the law against people like foster friess or sheldon edelson? and a question from twitter was, how can this be called a democracy where presidential candidate must raise a billion dollars to win an election? i think is a question to individual revelation but this is what some people's minds. any thoughts because they are value chechens. it gets difficult thing a journalist. this is the way coming up in this is what i think about this ticket doesn't matter what i think about citizens united it really doesn't matter necessarily what most of us think about citizens united
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because that's the law of the land and that's where we live right now. and it's almost like you just sort of have to figure out a way forward and to talk about i think issues of disclosure more than anything else. >> i would just note it doesn't have to raise a billion dollars. no one is putting a gun to his head. and, in fact, it was obama 2008 who chose to raise three quarters of a billion dollars. he said you know what? i can crush john mccain if i don't take public financing and i will win. he reverse his pledge to take public financing and, of course, you guys are aware that until this election every year for the past couple decades after each party nominates a candidate, you get a bunch of taxpayer money and return agree not to raise other money. i think i have that right. so obama said you know what, i'm done with that, i'm not going to take the money, i'm going to raise my own money. ronni followed suit in this
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election that both candidates are off to the races. it was a choice any meaningful one and a decision by both candidates made. they don't actually have to raise any money for the general election if they don't want to. >> dollars are not sucked into ballot box. they are you to try to persuade people to vote. and that sounds a lot like speech, doesn't it, when we think about that we. and ultimately we as voters have to make decisions about what we are going to do. one of the concerns that we have is that too many voters essentially won't take it seriously, other things they hear on the television and there may be some truth to that. but ultimately if that's the direction where going to take ourselves, we are really giving up on democracy i think. i think we have to assume that voters will try to do the job again, there's good evidence spending as to voter knowledge increases voter awareness and interest in elections. so i think on the end, it's not contrary to democracy to say
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that we're going to let people speak as much as they can speak, anymore than i think the issues are problematic but the other problematic issues, do you want the government stepping in and deciding who has raised too much like him who has raced to overcome his at the wrong things? that's a very dangerous thing to do. >> i would presume that the quick answer to this question, which is pointed at you, brad, is a no, or negative. how do you feel about public funding for candidates? >> the problem with public funding for candidates is it doesn't solve the problem of independent speech which existed even before citizens united. and that you want to try to really ban citizen speech come you've got a problem. and you got to start looking at groups like mine or melanie to a file complaints against candidates in the middle of the campaigns and we say that's not political? we will have to see what's political. people will start doing things if we disallow direct speech, people will run issue ads.
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if we disallow it issue as people world ron baker issue ads and spend more money to do it with ohio groups to file complaints against other people. so much of what would you has at least some political overtones that a don't think you can get rid of that. in that respect i just don't think public financing can never accomplish what its supporters hope it can't. >> melanie, i'll let you chime in on that i'll also if you have thoughts on this question about -- donating to super pacs. >> on the question of the foreign entities, so there are laws prohibiting foreign entities, foreign individuals from donating, it's really about individual. you can't donate, foreigners can't donate to americans campaigns but you're not allowed to be involved in our electoral process. that said, there are multinational corporations now, and so the rule is any money that is spent on elections would have to be raised here but you
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can certainly question whether a company that has offices here and can raise money here, employees to donate to attack, for example, they're all american employees but are those people making contributions in fact more related to their home, the company some interest in another country pics i think there are legitimate concerns about ways that foreign individuals and foreign governments in fact could influence our election. >> when it comes to political speech, a lot of thought experiments. las vegas sands corporation i think is publicly traded. 93% of its revenue comes from macau, which is a territory of china. trance remixes money off the company at which he is a huge shareholder and that money thing goes to u.s. election but, of course, he is an american citizen. it's his earnings. but you do kind of gift is
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almost like question of like what money is fat, is that foreign money, and in an age of where borders have less meaning in finance and business, can we really draw that distinction as meaningful as we continue to when we banned foreign contributions. >> and when it comes to the (c)(4) you just have no idea because c. force have to tell the irs who they are getting their money from. but you could really say a list of bunch of llc's, like the yellow sunny day llc gave me $500,000 blue sky llc gave me $1 million. you don't need to tell the iris anything other than that and really anybody could be behind it. >> this and goes to both of you in the center, nick and kim. the question is as you work on your beats, one of the missing links, what don't you know that you wish you knew? put different, where do you see this story going next? >> the donors. we don't know the donors.
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i feel like that's one thing i would keep hammering over and over again. i spend my days, people walk by my desk and they laugh and they say they feel sorry for me. these guys will call me back and they will talk to me but when you're calling folks from these organizations, you're just calling and calling and calling it and nobody ever calls you back. i've never felt so rejected in my life as i do covering this. you go to the office, you try to get them to give you, give me your tax forms. you're supposed to. you are required by law. yeah, no. and so you're like force it into a situation where you're reporting on something and writing stories and you're just like and so and so didn't, and so-and-so didn't come. and it's very difficult to get people to reason, to pay attention when you don't have compelling characters write about because that's the thing with journalism. you're much more likely to read a 5000 word story was recalling propublica actually, that the unit of measure, of stories we
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have. we write very long stories. it's much easy to get people to read that if you can hang on folks who will talk to you. so that to me is a very big challenge spent that's why they won't talk to you. that's not the audience they're going to reach. they have no interest in having a high profile. most of them are not looking to other name in print by people running these organizations. what they want is to secretly influence your vote and the only secret influence your vote if you're not been written about by major newspapers and not covered by media corporation, so it's working out well for them. >> nick, you've published like i remember an e-mail, you know, basically a thanks, but no thanks to walkie-talkie now from one of the big donors. how do you deal with the source in question when you can't go back to a lot of the donors to get more information from the? >> you do the best you can. i mean, you know, i like to talk to everybody that i'm writing about and to what they have to say. just good journalism.
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we are often in a position of writing about flu and shall -- very influential people come and talking to reporters can be a pain in the aspect so i can't blame them. so essentially there is kind of a huge information goal about the motivations and priorities of a small group of people who are playing a more a more influential role in politics and as a journalist, it's frustrating and i would like to be able to understand what they're doing better and describing to readers better spent it's just about that time when we wrap up our al qaeda contentious very much informed discussion. i'm going to go back to this group of virtual middle school students that i invented. let's say that as extra credit they had listened to this entire discussion, and some of them were a little depressed about the state of politics today. how do we proceed bucks this is
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the state of play. we've been able to take i think a really comprehensive look for the time allotted and some of the issues we're facing with dark money and campaign finance. but then you go back to people like oh, yeah, america is about one person one vote. america is about free speech, and those returns, a termite free speech means different things to different people. how do we frame these issues in ways that are understandable and important moving forward? i'm going to go back down the line. u..
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>> we're paying a lot of attention to these dark money groups, and we're putting their forms up online, their tax forms, whatever we can find out about them. and i think it's just incumbent upon you, middle school voters, to be educated about these groups. go and research the group, and it is incumbent upon us as voters not to be lazy and not to just vote a party ticket and actually go and research the different votes you're going to cast because that is something we get to do as part of a democracy. and i think a lot of times we just sort of forget about that part of it. >> i think that -- i would hope people would come away thinking, wow, this is a lot more complex than i thought coming in, and if
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we're going to come up with realistic solutions to this problem, we need to get past the slogan nearing,he easy associations and think hard about the issue and think hard about whether our or 40-year experiment many this area has worked and if it as not worked, why it hasn't worked. and i think people should, obviously, be more informed, so i use this to, you know, plug our web site, campaignfreedom.org, has a lot of sort of contra thinking on this. melanie didn't say her web site, so i think we ought to give her a chance to do it. >> [inaudible] >> there is no substitute for the kind of people who are watching this today, and we've got to figure out a way to get more people watching this kind of thing. >> all right. that has been it from our conversation from pro publy ca at the tenement museum in new york. we've been speaking with melanie sloan, executive director,
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nicholas confessore, kim barker, pro pubely ca reporter and author and bradley smith, chairman and cofounder of the center for competitive politics. we've been talking about the rise of dark money in election 2012, and it looks like election 2016, etc., etc. thanks to pro pubely ca and thanks everyone. >> thank you. [applause] >> the thing about eisenhower is that he would never tell anybody whether he was going to use nuclear weapons. why is this important? because in the 1950 when nuclear weapons were pretty new and we threatened to use them at various stages, ike did, but nobody ever knew where he was serious or not -- whether he was
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serious or not. and, of course, to be credible as a deterrent, you have to be credible, and ike never told anybody. i was fascinated by that notion. talk about the loneliness of command, the use of nuclear weapons. what could be a greater command decision tan that? here was a guy who had run the allied invasion in world war ii, liberated europe but now he's president and has an even greater level of respond at a time when -- responsibility at a time when nuclear weapons are new. soviets have them, we've got 'em, not just one or two, tactical nuclear weapons, h bombs, are we going to use these things or not? and ike used them as a tool. he embraced this unusable weapon as a tool, basically, to avoid any war. >> evan thomas on ike's bluff, sunday on q&a at a 8 on c-span. >> today the new america foundation hosts a discussion on the arab spring and political
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transitions in egypt and libya and the civil war in syria. live starting at 2 p.m. eastern on c-span3. >> c-span's campaign 2012 bus spent time in ohio visiting colleges and universities to speak with students about c-span's programming. here's a little of what they had to say via tout, a video-based social media service. >> i would say the person that has most influenced my political views would be my dad. we both like to talk a lot about politics and watch the debates together and talk through them. >> the most important issue to me in this election is supreme court justice nominees because if mitt romney gets elected, he will appoint justices like scalia and thomas. >> my history teacher my senior year of high school influenced my political views the most.
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i learned a lot because he was a very relatable guy, and i felt really inspired by him. >> student issues like if there's something that's omitted to help us with our loans, and i feel like that's an important issue to me, student loans. >> this government, as promised, has maintained the closest surveillance of the soviet military buildup on the island of cuba. within the past week, unpeak bl evidence has established -- unmistakeable evidence has established the fact that a series of offensive missile sites is now in preparation on that imprisoned island. the purpose of these bases can be none other than to provide a nuclear strike capability witness -- against the western hemisphere. >> do you, ambassador, deny that the ssr has placed and is placing medium and intermediate-range missiles and
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sites in cuba? yes or no? don't wait for the cancellation, yes or no. >> thirteen days in october 1962, live sunday from the jfk presidential library and museum. historians, scholars, film makers and journalists on the 50th anniversary of the cuban missile crisis starting at 12:30 eastern on c-span3. victoria nuland announced thursday that ambassador lawrence pope has arrived in libya as the head of the new embassy there. she faced more questions about why government officials blamed a september 11th benghazi attack that killed ambassador chris stevens and three other americans on protests outside the compound. a detailed timeline of the event now says there was no protest. this is 20 minutes. >> on libya, um, you have announced that the new charge
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calf faris is already there. could you give us some background on why, specifically, he's got a great background in a lot of different areas, why specifically lawrence pope was selected, what he was going to be doing, etc. >> well, as you can imagine, we wanted to have somebody with significant experience in the region, a very seasoned diplomat at this complex time, and as we continue to work with the libyans. he, as you saw from his bio, has had a lot of tours in the region. he retired some years ago, so he is another one of our very seasoned veterans that the secretary asked to come back on active duty, and the president supported that to insure that we have senior leadership out there at this time. >> never served in -- [inaudible] though, had he? >> no, but remember for the longest time -- >>
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[inaudible] >> exactly. >> but when you say in the region, he was director of gulf affairs. >> uh-huh. >> but i didn't see anything that stressed that he was ever in, you know, certainly in libya or north africa -- >> chad. >> chad, excuse me, you're right. >> okay. >> he was charge in lebanon in the '80s? >> i have to tell you, i should have, but i did not bring his bio down here with me, but i will check on that. >> have a shortage of young foreign service officers, maybe -- [inaudible] wasn't quite effective? >> i would say on the contrary, given the great change and the huge relationships that we have with these countries of north africa and the middle east our younger folks are more and more gravitating to want to serve in that area to take that, to learn the languages. but as you know, at the senior level particularly in a complex time you need that seasoned
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leadership. please. >> can we stay on libya? >> uh-huh. >> is there any possibility or any expectation that he might ultimately be nominated to serve as ambassador, or is he regarded as an interim choice? >> well, he's the charge at the moment with regard to any white house plans to nominate a successor to ambassador stevens. i'm going to send you to the white house. >> did he agree to go for a specific period or? because, i mean, some of the people that the secretary has sent, for instance, has said i'll go for a year -- >> i don't have any information on whether we set a time frame with him. generally, one signs up for these things for a year, and then we see where we are. but again, we are, as i think saed said, a month out from the tragic loss of ambassador stevens, so we have to look at the longer-terms -- >> wait, wait, when you say one signs up for these for a year,
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you peen a retired -- >> when you do something in the interim -- >> [inaudible] >> i will. again, it goes to the question whether the white house has an intention to nominate a successor and when. >> state department privacy 101, but a charge in a region that's obviously been traumatized by various events, could you please state to us what you feel ambassador pope's role is going to be and how he'll be working with the libyan government? enter as with any charge calf fair in the absence of an ambassador, he leads the mission staff, he is the senior american in country conducting relations with the government of libya, reaching out to civil society responsible for insuring that our various programs with the government of libya are operating. he, of, has all of the responsibilities that any chief
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of mission anywhere around the world would have. >> do you see it might be a more complicated or complex role that he has given the situation he's going boo? >> well, again, chief of mission authority is essentially the same this operational span of control anywhere in the world, but every relationship is different. every agent, every country the programmatics in terms of what we're doing with support -- >> and has there been any reaction from the libyan side about his appointment? have they welcomed it? >> my understanding is that he's had a warm welcome from the libyan side. they understand his seniority and deep background -- >> [inaudible] what was that like? >> um, i don't -- i think that's a good question whether -- >> [inaudible] >> can i, i don't want to raise old wounds, but -- >> but you're going to. >> well, no, i'm not going to raise the wounds themselves, but
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do you know if congress or the senate specific was warned of the decision to send him given his problems getting cop firmed? -- confirmed? >> as you know, in charge status -- >> i'm very well aware, yeah, i know. >> [inaudible] >> but since he had a problem getting confirmed, in fact, wasn't confirmed for the kuwait post, i'm wondering if anyone in this building thought that it might be appropriate. granted, senator helms is long gone, but -- and danielle pletka is no longer a congressional aide. but do you know if there was any discussion with the senate about sending him out there? >> i don't know the answer to the question. i'm happy to take it for you, matt. please. >> [inaudible] in libya and part of his brief be to set about any reopening of
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the mission in bicep ghazi? >> he arrived very late last night libya time, is my understanding. we as ambassador and undersecretary kennedy said yesterday, we haven't made any decisions in regard to the future of benghazi, we're just going to have to see how the situation evolves. still on libya? >> we. >> yeah. >> follow up to the -- >> can you tell me who you are? >> mike he soon of fox. do. >> every time i turn around i've got a new foxy. going to have to follow you. >> ab -- an agent at the talk instantly saw -- that the agent instantly yelled "attack, attack," and the agent immediately notified washington of what was going on. on the same call, one of the senior officials said it was, quote: not our conclusion that in the first several days this was prompted by the anti-islam video. so how is it that ambassador
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rice came to such a different conclusion when she was on the sunday show. >> well, i'm going to refer you to what undersecretary kennedy said both on the hill yesterday and from this podium yesterday with regard to what he himself would have said if he had been on the sunday shows that day based on the information that we had at the time. i think there's a conflating of issues here. when deputy assistant secretary lamb was testifying, she was speaking about the events from the moment that the alarm was sounded going forward. i think the question was initially whether those events were preceded by a more peaceful protest outside of the gates. that was our initial impression which turned out not to be the case. >> but on the conference call one of the officials said that the media -- [inaudible] it was not the conclusion that the -- [inaudible] was responsible for --
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>> again, i think undersecretary kennedy spoke to that yesterday. >> i don't think he ever really answered that question as to why this official said that that wasn't the conclusion of the state department, yet undersecretary kennedy said that he would have said that. i don't understand. if it was a -- i didn't understand when he said it yesterday, and i don't think he answered the question that if it was, if it was the conclusion of the state department that it was not a preplanned protest or a protest gone awry, why would undersecretary kennedy say that in an interview? >> i think if you go back and look at that transcript from tuesday night, what was actually said that night was overreported. in the same sentence the official goes on to say, we're going to have to investigate when what actually happened, we're not going to have a full view of all of these things until we have the arb report and the fbi report. so i'm going to await those -- probably.
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>> just one point that till seems unclear, do we know that there actually was a gone straight on the streets that day at any time if. >> well, again, i think as you heard reports as of 8:30 at night when the, when ambassador stevens exited the buildingor escorted our guest out or his guest out, there were not any folks outside the building. and then the alarms were sounded by the security officials at about 9:40. whether or not there was a gathering of any size at the gates between 8:30 and 9:40, that's a matter that's still being looked into. we think that, you know, contrary to what we initially thought if there was such a gathering, it was probably relatively modest. but, again, i don't want to get beyond what we know until we have a full picture of the investigation. >> well, wouldn't -- >> sorry, one quick follow-up.
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if an agent is yelling "attack, attack," sounding the alarms and informing washington what's going on u isn't it pretty self-evident this is more than a spontaneous attack? >> there's no question that at the time the alarm was sounded we were in a very serious situation with folks coming through the gates. nobody has said anything other than that. the question is, what, if anything, may have preceded that. >> wouldn't you have expected if there was a demonstration, however modest outside, that the guards would have noticed it, and there wouldn't have been nothing -- there would have been something said between 8:30 and 9:40 had there been any kind of unusual crowd, gathering, whether it was ten guys with a sign or, you know, 15? wouldn't that have registered on the guard, forwards? wouldn't they have said something had there been any kind of a demonstration?
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>> again, we are till in the process of understand -- we are still in the process of understanding -- >> well, it was a very detailed timeline that was presented on tuesday, okay? >> right. >> i would assume, correct me if i'm wrong, that had there been something unyule outside the gates of the compound like a modest demonstration or any kind of gathering, that that would have -- that it would have not, it would no have gone unnoticed. >> again, that is something that we have to look at, but in terms of what triggered the phone call to washington, a modest protest outside the gates might not have done that. so, again, we have to get all of the facts, we have to finish interviewing all of the people involved. i would simply remind that on the days immediately following, all of the americans who were directly involved were either in the process of being medevaced or were being treated for smoke inhalation, etc. we had lost some of them so there was, obviously, quite a bit of confusion. >> right. and i have another question
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after one, you just raised something else. are you saying that given what had happened in cairo earlier in the day that if there had been even 15 or 20 guys carrying signs or yelling but not with weapons or anything, that wouldn't have been -- given what had happened in cairo already, that that might not have been something that would have been reported back to washington in. >> again, we are talking about what caused the lame to be sounded at -- >> no, i'm talking about what happened in between, if anything happened in between 8:30 when the turkish diplomat left and 9:40 when -- >> that official said there was nothing outside. >> exactly. >> right. that is our impressioning. >> still holding out the possibility that there might have been something, however modest, when it seems to me that it would have been reported because of what had happened in cairo earlier, even something modest would have been cause for at least someone to note it. >> again, between 8:30 and 9:40 there might not have been a call
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to washington. as that official said, we don't now believe that there was anything, but i'm trying to explain how this might have gotten confused at the time. >> okay. in terms of what the official said on the call -- >> yeah. >> -- in fact, he said that there was, you know, that they didn't -- that that was not the conclusion. and then he said i'm not saying that there was a conclusion. >> right. >> so if there was, i mean, and yet undersecretary kennedy said ha in his conversations -- that in his conversations with people on the hill the next day or the next day or the 12th or the 13th that his personal opinion was that it was, you know, premeditated or it was a coordinated terrorist attack. and i guess i'm just -- does, does the sate -- state department defer to dni if dni comes out and tells you that
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something that is demonstrably at odds with what witnesses on the ground had to say about it? >> look, i'm not going to parse this 17 ways from this podium. what i am going to say is, obviously, when one goes out and tryings to -- tries to represent what the totality of what we know, the intelligence community plays a large role in that, and they had given an assessment to the entire government which was the basis on which ambassador rice spoke on sunday. they themselves have talked very explicitly about how their assessment has evolved over time. >> right. and yet, and yet undersecretary kennedy and other people many this building -- other people in this building knew or felt in their own opinions that that was not correct. and that -- >> i'm not going to get into the perm feelings of anybody -- personal feelings of anybody. i'm similarly going to say in
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making public statements, one depends on the -- >> but you never said that. >> look, i'm generally dumber than most of the rest of the government. i mean, that's what i'm paid -- [laughter] >> so when asked -- >> well, babe not. in this case -- maybe not. in this case it turns out you might have been smarter. >> exactly. >> look, elise, we're not going to parse in think further, we're just not. >> on this issue, foreign diplomats in hot spots normally call in what they call an advance team, security team, to scan the area to make sure the ambassador or the diplomat, the point to -- [inaudible] do we know if ambassador stevens was given the benefit of that? >> whether there was advanced discussion about security for his visit? >> he wants to go from point a to point b, and advanced security goes to survey the area beforehand. >> beyond saying that there was, obviously, security planning for his visit to benghazi as
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evidenced by the fact that he took two extra agents with him from tripoli, i'm not going to get into the details, but he was not moving beyond the compound at the time of the attack. jill if. >> on friday the secretary has a speech we understand at a think tank here in washington. are we expecting to hear her discuss some of what happened in libya? >> well, the subject of the conference at csis where she'll speak tomorrow is the transition in the maghreb, so she'll obviously speak to that, but i think you can expect she'll make broader comments about the democratic transitions across the middle east and north africa. >> and one other question. some in the media have already drawn a conclusion, are asking the question could this effect her legacy, reputation as secretary of state? i know we're still in the middle of all of this, but can you give us your appraisal as how this might, the incident, the killing, the attack might effect
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the secretary this. >> the secretary herself has said that there is no one in this building who wants to get to the bottom of what happened that night and the lessons that we can learn from it more than she does. more than all of us who are employees of the state department. so she is focused on that with regard to what happened in benghazi. but she is also, obviously, engaged all across the world on broad cross-section of issues. we're, obviously, not going to be getting into legacy when she's still got four months of very busy times here leading this department and leading for the president. please. >> i've got one more on libya just to go back to yesterday, and it's something i raised with pat yesterday as well. i just, i was a little surprised at his response to the question that i asked yesterday, and it has to do with what
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mr. nordstrom said at the very end of his testimony which was the quote was: for me, the taliban is inside of the building, referring to this building. um, pat said he found that comment surprising. but i would think that feelings would run a little bit stronger than just surprising, considering a comment like that suggests there's some kind of a conspiracy within the state department or within the diplomatic security office to deny people the protection, the security that they need or that, in fact, there are people inside this building who would wish harm on their colleagues. do you have anything that you want to say about b what mr. nordstrom said? >> i think that the way undersecretary kennedy responded to your question was absolutely appropriate and extremely dignified, if i can put it that
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way, and well represented this department when he said that he and all of us are extremely and extraordinarily proud of what diplomatic security does every day around the world, that these are people who are the best of the best, they are extraordinary professionals. but that particular comment was surprising. >> well, it -- >> i can't improve on that, matt. >> you can't improve on that? >> i cannot, and i will not. >> so you don't find that offensive at all in any way? you don't think that there's any truth to mr. nordstrom's claim that there's some people inside this building who are acting like the taliban and denying or wishing harm on their colleagues? >> i think the way undersecretary kennedy answered your question speaks for all of us. please. >> [inaudible] >> anything else on libya? we still -- please, yep. >> at the hearing yesterday, there were warning signs prior to the attack in benghazi.
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an attack on the british convoy in benghazi two weeks before, and then another attack on the wall of the compound in benghazi and then the third attempt with the attack that resulted in the killing of the four americans. now that the security official in yemen has been killed, do you consider this as a warning sign and maybe a reason to offer security for diplomats in general? >> well, first of all, we have been working intensively, obviously, even before september 11th but since the incident to look at owl of our missions around the world, but certainly our missions in north africa and the middle east. the president's been clear about that, the secretary's been clear about that for weeks and weeks and weeks. as i said in response to today's incident in sana'a, we've had
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our first work at the embassy, we're looking at this now in washington, we're investigating with the yes, yemenis to draw whatever conclusions there are to be drama, but all of our -- drawn, but all of us take security extremely seriously. >> the vp nominees are back on the road. vice president joe biden and dr. jill biden will speak at a campaign rally at the university of wisconsin in lacrosse. we'll be live at 2:45 p.m. eastern ear on c-span. then at 5:40 eastern, mitt romney and paul ryan hold a campaign rally in lancaster, ohio. our live coverage from the lancaster town center on c-span. >> i watch on c-span the airing of congressional hearings and congressional deliberation on public policy and also information that is put out by the various think tanks here many washington d.c. i like to watch the main
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interview by brian lamb that are on sundays at 8:00 where he hosts different authors, and he has discussions, in-depth discussions about the books that they have written. and so it's just an easy way to get information that are in those books without having to read the books. >> wesley romans watches c-span on comcast. c-span, created by america's cable companies in 1979, brought to you as a public service by your television provider. >> you're watching c-span2 with politics and public affairs. weekdays featuring live coverage of the u.s. senate. on weeknights, watch key public policy events and every weekend the latest nonfiction authors and books on booktv. you can see past programs and get our schedules at our web site, and you can join in the conversation on social media sites. >> and we have more now on the situation in north africa
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looking at libya, egypt and tunisia today. the center for strategic and international studies is hosting this daylong discussion on the -- as the state department continues to receive criticism for its handling of the september 11th attack on the u.s. consulate in libya which resulted in the deaths of a u.s. ambassador christopher stevens and three other americans. little bit later this afternoon secretary of state hillary clinton will make remarks on politics, economics and security in north africa. we'll have it live for you here on c-span2. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] >> and, again, we are live at the center for strategic and international studies here in washington awaiting the start of this discussion on the situation in north africa. little bit later this afternoon secretary of state hillary clinton will make remarks on politics, economics and security in that region. that's expected to start at 2 this afternoon. while we have a quick second, we want to let you know about a couple of other programs coming up here this afternoon. the new america foundation will be hosting a discussion on the arab spring and the political situations in egypt and libya and the civil war in syria. that's at 2 p.m. eastern live on c-span3.
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>> good morning. i'm john alterman, global security and geostrategy at csis, and it's a real pleasure to welcome you here to this conference on the maghreb in transition. we first started planning this conference about nine months ago, and we drew up our list of, our sort of dream team of speakers. every single one of those speakers is going to be with us today. if there were an all-star game for north africa experts, you would be seeing them playing today, and i think we're all delighted we were able to pull
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that together. for several years we at csis have tried to push forward the idea that the maghreb is an important region for u.s. national interests and u.s. strategic thinking. for several years we held a monthly maghreb round table, and this is the fourth all-day conference we've hosted in the last fife years. north africa's remained on the margins of u.s. strategic thinking, but today's conference and the crowd we expect to be here suggests this is beginning to change. it's hard to look seriously at the piddle east for the last 18 -- middle east for the last 18 months and not conclude that north africa is, indeed, or important, and we need to understand it better. we approach these issues with mixed emotions. ambassador chris stevens was a friend and colleague, and his tragic death in libya a month ago is a reminder not only of the dangers posed by hatred, but also of the threats that come in the wake of police forces in
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disarray, inadequate security and factionalism. and yet we see the same green shoots of hope that gave chris such optimism. historic elections in country after country were conducted with more order and less intimidation than anyone had predicted, and few parliaments are struggling -- new parliaments are struggling to exercise their new roles. militaries are giving way to politicians, and politicians are yielding to the demands of their publics. on the governmental level, the united states is strengthening partnerships with new allies and deepening longstanding friendships such as the recent hoss of the u.s./morocco strategic dialogue. we have a heightened stake in the process of reform working. this conference is part of csis' ondoing study of the -- on going study of the maghreb and an effort to see how transitions will effect stability in the months ahead.
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our first panel will look at the changing politics in maghreb countries, in particular how governments will manage shifting expectations, how existing governments manage more complex political environments and how new governments use their powers. the second panel on economic challenges and opportunities will examine government strategies to manage the manifold socioeconomic challenges they face and their ability to create positive change and economic growth. the third panel will look at the issues of security and stability across the region, especially how governments will manage security threats, what influence u.s. policies on the region might have and what dilemmas the u.s. will face in its relations with maghreb governments. to conclude the day, we're honored to host the secretary of state who will deliver a keynote address on transitions underway in the maghreb. secretary clinton's participation today speaks of the importance of the maghreb to u.s. interests. before i turn it over to the
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moderator of our first panel, i want to thank the ocp group for its generous support or of this conference and much of the work in the maghreb in the months to come. .. it's a pleasure to have him hosted this -- no pressure at all. is a codirector of democracy studies program, associate professor at georgetown. he's a senior advisor to the
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center for conflict analysis and prevention at the u.s. institute of peace. previously he was a senior associate in the democracy and rule of law project at the carnegie endowment for international peace. he previously taught at the university of chicago from which he received his ph.d. >> thank you for this very kind words. you go to conferences and events as your old friend from your 15, 2025 years. completely inappropriate. we are the older generation now and we have lots of the new generation scholars in this room as well. and i want to say that d.c., i do good things as washington is place where we are constantly evolving confidence building measures. you know, i'm glad to hear that. conferences don't link. i hope i get sick couple things quickly and not much because we need to get going. the title of today's conference is the maghreb in transition. when i was a student at cairo university, more than 20 years ago now, i used to have a
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professor, some of you must know him, used to say -- which loosely translated means we are in a transitional stage and that was in 1986. everybody was insisting that egypt was already any transition and i think the fact of the matter is the leaders of all the governments in the maghreb and north africa would've made similar arguments for the last 20 years, these countries have been in transition. and, of course, what's remarkable in the way in which the governments persisted is in some sense they were and in some since they were not. there were element to change and continuity, but the revolt in tunisia which began the arab spring coheres little tunisia suddenly on the map in a very significant way really redefined what it meant to be in transition. suddenly the rules of so-called transition that existed before were now challenged, and questions over transition emerged and, of course, tunisia in the census probably the most forward-looking country.
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in terms of actual transition, nevertheless, all the countries in north africa and the wider arab world are now on notice to figure out whether they can or cannot or should or should not go beyond the kinds of old rules and mechanisms that persisted in this endless transition, this endless transition. and whether they will move beyond it. and the fact of the matter is that in tunisia, algeria, morocco, the answer is different to some extent in the ways in which the challenge of a serious transition to democracy have been placed on the map literally by tunisia. now on the agenda of all this country. i think what we want to hear in part is how and what ways all these countries have responded to that challenge of whether we're in it, the old transition or something that is new. let's think about and that since. we have a terrific panel to discuss these and other related issues. to my left is professor malika zeghal, professor contemporary islamic thought and life at
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harvard university. she will talk about tunisia. my old friend who i haven't seen in a while, person of north africa and middle east studies at tufts university will be time of the algeria, and trembling, assistant professor of political science and international studies at the kenya calls will be talked about morocco. i've been told clearly that when every speaker has a maximum of five minutes and i'm supposed, i'm sorry, slip of the done. 50 minutes. i wanted to see if they were awake. 15 minutes and i'm going to be the supreme leader. i do a lot of work on iran as well so i would be the supreme leader this morning and i'm going to enforce that rule rigorously. so malika you have the floor. by the way of course, if you have one of thes these you're supposed to turn them off. i suppose i should mention as well. >> thank you very much for your introduction and say thank you to the csis for having me. i'm going to talk about tunisia. the year ago, a year ago when
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elections for a constituent assembly were taking place in tunisia in october 2011, tunisia looked very promising and probably the most promising country on those who have been part of the arab spring. the elections were free and fair. for the first time in tunisia's history it was an extraordinary atmosphere of freedom, of expression, it seemed that tunisia was still protected from the turmoils of geopolitical conflicts in the region. one year later, in october 2012, however, the situation seems uncertain. with a very difficult economic situation, social conflicts, a government that is not able to provide public services, attacks on the american embassy, a month ago which is also led some of to
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ask are we becoming and afghanistan. and so suddenly it seems that things have changed, have become much more uncertain. there is no institution building taking place today. so would like to argue that even if the situation seems promising, if we are in -- indeed, may be the election where organized a little too early. and in order to make this argument, i'm going to contrast two periods in the tunisia in transition. the first one took place, started after the departure of general ben ali on january 14, 2011, and the second one took place after the election. so the pre-electoral moment of the post electoral moment. so the pre-electoral moment was what some people have called the magical moment, this period
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where the transition seemed to go very well in spite of all the conflicts that were taking place. i had national talks as a victory. why didn't work so well. civil society was very strong in fact, political parties seem to have disappeared for a while, and when i met with members of civil society during the year 2011, their dream was to do politics but without political parties. and so the idea was to indian politics without the old and hated political parties. there was a real -- for political parties, be they the our cg by the way or the old positional oppositional parties. there was a polarization from the beginning between the secularists or the liberals. but the debates were going on and were quite healthy i think because that was taking place in
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a context where nobody had any legitimacy. the high committee for the realization of the objectives of the revolution, political reform and political transition was, in fact, not elected. it had been appointed and, therefore, it had no legitimacy. but that played an important role in the sense that because its members did not feel that they have legitimacy, they were extremely cautious and, therefore, they always compromised. and i think this first period works very well because of the actions of legitimacy, because there hadn't been elections yet and, therefore, everyone within the high committee for the end of the revolution found that they had to compromise and that was, in fact, an important part of what they have called the president of the high committee has called a mystery.
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and, therefore, the high committee was able to do institution building, and one of the examples of course of these achievements is the election of law. but this institution building was -- now the question is how do we build new institutions after the election of october 23, 2011. so polarization and conflict, yes, but in accent of legitimacy that made everyone cautious during the first period and force everyone into compromises. now the second period of the transition starts, of course after the election, when tunisians discovered that their society is, in fact, an extremely conservative society, or at least this is what the polls suggest.
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and what the polls have showed also is that the traditional political society has been rejected by tunisians in general. so the old -- have been rejected by tunisians, and those who have one, another of course another of course everybody knows, but also newer parties like cbr and secular parties who did not choose the divide between secularity's and islamism. and what is more interesting is that the result of the election show and electoral map that is completely different from the protests now. the people who protested are not the people who voted, if you will. so the difference year is quite telling, and it's going to produce also more conflict after the election. and now we have a government after the election that is, in
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fact, -- the election legitimacy and tell it has large margins of maneuver to do what it wants. and, therefore, the polarization becomes more important and there is less need for the -- even for the opposition. which has created very difficult situation, in particular in a context where social problems and social conflicts become important day after day. civil society remains extremely strong but political parties have come back. and civil society feels entrenched and feels marginalized by political society, and by the renewed force of the political party, especially that this will transitional process has renewed the tunisians. it has renewed the commission believes because another -- [inaudible] on the governing and the old elites have been also
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marginalized by the election. so the polarization changes in its nature after the election. also because they have emerged after the election pushing to the right, and making it extra difficult for another to be at the center, something they wanted from the beginning. they really wanted to be in the center and to move towards the center. so this has created difficulties or another, but also from, there are threats also from civil society. has become very important pics of this has also created more difficulties for them to govern. the third element in this new polarization, the changing nature of the polarization of course is the question of islam and its relationship to the limit of freedom. and we see more and more trials,
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and we see the courts being new actors in the transition dealing with question of religious freedom and freedom of expression. and that also polarized the debate. so there is no more, it seems no more need to compromise for all parties. and today, the political landscape is more and more polarized into big part of the one hand, its allies, and the other, the tune is, tunisia call that represents the liberal center left as well as the old rcd party that is coming back to the political arena. now, what does that do?

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